One of the better breweries of recent times has not been seen around these parts very often in the recent past, so I was delighted to find five of it's beers lined up to come on at the Star this week. Church End from Nuneaton have been brewing since 1994, originally in an old coffin shop, but moving to a larger ten barrel plant in 2001. Their staple beers cover a wide spectrum. Goats Milk is a very quaffable 3.8% light bitter, Gravediggers (note the coffin connection !!), a similar strength dark mild full of roast and chocolate, Hop Gun, a 4.1% bitter packed with Green Bullet hop flavour, Stout Coffin, a 4.6% rich stout and the quirkily named What The Fox's That, 4.25% with equal hop and malt flavours.
The brewery are not afraid to experiment and have produced beers with various fruit flavours - I recall the Lemon and Grapefruit at a previous Star festival being exceptional. They also produce single hop beers under the A-Z Reg banner. A quick scan of their beer list shows brews with marzipan, lemongrass, honey and banana and many other ingredients one would never assume would work in beer. But somehow most do.
The staple range does sometimes reach Huddersfield, most likely in the Kings Head or the Star Inn but it has been a while since I have come across any specials locally which is why I was so interested in these at the Star. The first to appear on the bar was Forbidden Fruit at 4.1%. It was packed with citrus flavourings and very light. As expected it did not last long and was generally well received. This was followed by 2 others, which were still on the bar yesterday. One is the weirdly named Pusty Hrad, a 3.9% dark bitter, full of flavour but not enough hop character for my taste, (a bit of googling revealed it is named after a 7th century Czech Castle), and the equally strange sounding H.A.T, a 4.5% bitter. This will be followed by two more this week but the names elude me - though one has a picture of a bicycle on the pumpclip!
If you have never tried a Church End beer, they are well worth searching out, but beware, often the name of the beer is no indication as to taste, so be prepared for the unexpected!!